Pennsylvania Substitute Teacher Requirements

Substitute teaching in Pennsylvania is a unique opportunity for flexible and versatile prospective educators seeking a dynamic work environment. Pennsylvania requires that substitute teachers meet a minimum set of criteria outlined within this article.

Pennsylvania is facing a shortage of substitute teachers, so the demand for qualified candidates is high. In this climate, prospective substitute teachers who meet the following requirements and contact their district of interest may transition with ease into the field of substitute teaching.

Requirements for Substitute Teachers in Pennsylvania

Average Salary for Substitute Teachers in Pennsylvania (2017)* $32,740
Required Degree High school diploma minimum, bachelor's degree preferred
Required Field Education
Testing Requirements Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA) and the Praxis® Core Academic Skills for Educators
Certifications Pennsylvania public educator certificate or a professional-level out of state educator certificate

Source: *Bureau of Labor Statistics (2017)

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Step 1: Earn Your Certification

The aspiring substitute teacher must have a high school diploma but a bachelor's degree is preferred. In the event that the applicant does not have a bachelor's degree, a Pennsylvania Public Educator Certificate or other qualifying certificate is required. To qualify for the Pennsylvania Public Educator Certificate, follow the steps below:

  • Complete an approved educator program
  • Pass required tests for Pennsylvania
  • Submit the appropriate certification form and fees

Pennsylvania offers two alternatives for testing:

(1) Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA).

  • Qualifying scores are listed as follows: Reading (220), Mathematics (193), Writing (220).
  • Fees associated with the test amount to $110 (for all three tests).
  • The test is administered continuously throughout the year but appointments prior to test day are required.

(2) Praxis® Core Academic Skills for Educators test

  • Qualifying scores are listed as follows: Reading (156), Mathematics (142), Writing (162).
  • Fees associated with the test amount to around $150 depending on if the applicant takes the combined test or if the three are taken individually it can cost up to $270.
  • The test is administered continuously throughout the year but appointments prior to test day are required.

If the educator has a bachelor's degree but does not have a certification, a public school can request an emergency permit for candidates it wishes to hire for up to a one-school year period. Yet, public schools have unlimited powers to request re-issuance of emergency permits. Additionally, Pennsylvania educators with inactive certificates are only permitted to substitute for up to a total of 90 days per school year.

Step 2: Contact the School District of Interest

The school district will be able to articulate the specific procedure and requirements necessary for employment in their district. Additionally, the school district will be responsible for finalizing the hiring process.

Step 3: Ensure Compliance With the Following Requirements:

  • Valid Pennsylvania educator certificate or out-of-state certificate Bachelor's degree (or foreign equivalency)
  • Background clearances (as required by law for individuals working with children)
  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien status (green card)

Substitute Teacher Certification Resources

In order to help you study for your certification exams, we've included the following links to comprehensive study guides.


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